On occasion, during my random browsing of the net, I come across an article of interest. Usually, it is a piece of news related to the video game industry, or sometimes it is about a breakthrough in science and technology.
More often than not, I stumble across things too tedious to read. Already, the paragraphs seem like imposing walls; hence, TLDR—“Too Long, Didn’t Read.”
I know that many students would settle for a summary of a required text in class over reading it completely because it is more convenient. This method is not guaranteed to work, for I have witnessed these very people fail to participate properly in their respective classes.
Is indolence truly the reason for our insistence not to read anything longer than one paragraph?
I recall back in my high school that there was a written IQ test that specifically stated that all directions must be followed, the foremost being “read all the directions/items before answering”. That very line was in the middle of a sea of text at the very start of the test.
The items ranged from writing down something on the paper to encircling the vowels in a word, etc. Turns out, the last item in said test was “Do not answer any of the above items.” One can only imagine the number of people, who, in their impatience, answered every item as they went through the test only to find that they have been duped (and if you are asking me how I fared, I did pass that test). Impatience and sloth are the motivations for TLDR.
I fear that this generation is losing the will to read, but it is not like reading is completely abhorred. If the number of tweets one gets is any indication, “reading” to this generation is synonymous to reading shorthand, pidgin English; or worse, an amalgam of symbols, rarely used typing characters and bad Filipino.
Know that I am not condoning communication technology and its related advances (which may include an emerging online Filipino lingo), but I feel that with its rise comes the fall of proper reading, and in extension, writing.
While the above argument may hold true in terms of electronic text, it may not necessarily be the case in terms of the printed word. The recent popularity of novels that cater to young adults proves that as long as the youth is into bloodsuckers and wizardry (perhaps escapism and romanticism on that note), there will be a market for such books.
However, here in the Philippines, not everyone can even afford their own textbook for class. This keeps books for leisure reading out of most people’s hands. Poverty certainly does not help in cultivating a book-reading people, but even without books, there lies an alternative in the form of newspapers.
That free tabloids given away in train stations run out pretty quickly verifies that the average Filipino does read, but cost may limit their material. It’s good that newspapers and tabloids are still readily available and within reach to most, yet the dilemma of tackling excruciatingly long articles presents itself yet again. TLDR.
Then what about those who can afford books? I assume that you, the reader, are part of those few who can easily buy a paperback off the shelf and just as much throw it away on the same day. You, who rave about the latest fantastic adventures of some angst-ridden kid while the rest of the country settles for the daily paper, which is about real and current events—and you cannot even bring yourself to read even this publication with at least some modicum of interest. Who is the more cultured individual, then?
By now, you should be fairly aware that the paper you currently hold in your hand right now belongs to the printed category, and that you have managed to reach the twelfth paragraph of this article. Rather than applaud your effort (besides, there is still much more to read), I would like to turn your attention to the readership of The LaSallian in general.
How many copies of this issue do you think gets picked up by the student populace? How many of those picked actually get read, and how many of those read are properly stored instead of thrown away afterward? These are not just questions on publication logistics, but I am making a point here.
Even school publications, those funded by your very own tuition, are not getting the readership they deserve. TLDR, many of you would say.
There is no overnight solution to encourage more reading. Curiosity is cultivated, they say. At the very least, one should thoroughly read items of personal interest. I, for one, read up on the latest in plastic model kits, as I am a modeler myself. That way, the act of reading is turned into a pleasure rather than a chore.
One cannot be possibly interested in everything. Unless there is some incentive in doing so (like a grade of 4.0), it is hard to bring oneself to read for reading’s sake. In fact, I am surprised you even managed to reach this part. I honestly thought you would not read this article because surely you cannot be all that interested in my incessant rambling about the death of reading.
I am sure of one thing, though: For those who have not read until this point, you have proven my point through and through; I stand vindicated. TLDR.